Nessmuk Redux
December 17, 2011, 9:16 am
Filed under: Craft, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,


I picked up this old copy of “Nessmuk’s” Woodcraft and Camping at a used book seller recently. This book is a true classic containing essential knowledge for woodcraft and woodlore. If you are looking for a little inspiration to become an “outer” and start roughing it or maybe just spending a little more time outdoors this is for you. If you want to know more about Nessmuk and who he was check out this previous post.


Tage Frid
October 11, 2011, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Craft | Tags: , , , ,

Tage Frid was a Danish born woodworker who had a great influence on American craft and furniture making. Immigrating to the US at the request of the American Craft Council he first taught at the School for American Craftsmen and later at the Rhode Island School of Design. His teachings had a great impact on many American furniture makers and played a great role in the studio furniture movement, which encouraged the making of one of a kind pieces of furniture by individual crafts people instead of mass produced furniture.

Preparing boards by hand

While attending Pratt I took several furniture courses where Tage Frid and his teachings served as a basis of knowledge for figuring out how to work with wood. His series of books, Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking was a required reading.  All the images shown here are from those books. The vignettes provided detailed instructions on how to complete endless types of joinery and even how to use specific tools.

How to properly handle a band saw blade.

Tage Frid’s teaching and wisdom can also be found in Fine Woodworking magazine, where he was an editor from 1975 til his death in 2004.

July 24, 2011, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Craft, Folk | Tags: ,

Cloudburst, A Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology, was conceived of by Vic Marks in the early 1970’s as a guidebook for those wishing to move to the country and begin back-to-the-land lifestyle. Born on Mayne Island, British Columbia and Marks’ books were stuffed with useful information and excellent detailed instruction and illustrations.

Some of the skills covered in book above are things like how to build  a 16ft personal dome, building a chicken coop, sauna construction, smoking fish, and making cheese. Vic Marks went on to publish several more Cloudburst magazines along with other publications on natural food and at least one book on foraging for edible wild mushrooms and another on poisonous and hallucinogenic mushrooms. A 25th Anniversary edition of Cloudburst was published not long ago by his new press, Hartley and Marks.

Chuck Box
July 10, 2011, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Craft, Gear, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

I have been an admirer of chuck boxes for a while now. These sometimes beautifully crafted wood boxes used to store food and other supplies for camp come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are sometimes called camp, patrol, or provision boxes. They also seem to range in their complexity, some being fairly simple with a few drawers while others have fold out legs and compartments for specific tools.

Image from Dirt Floor Studio

Recently over at Llyod Kahn’s site, he posted about some particularly beautiful chuck boxes made by Dirt Floor Studio. It seems if you are interested in making one yourself there are alot of plans out there online… would be a good Saturday Project.

Image from Dirt Floor Studio

Lie Nielsen Toolworks
March 1, 2011, 8:53 pm
Filed under: Craft | Tags: , , , ,

Lie Nielsen, a family run business from Maine, makes some of the most beautiful and hardworking woodworking tools around. If I were even slightly a true wood worker I would consider purchasing their tools, however it is still inspiring to look.

They are probably most known for their planes, both block and bench planes, which are derived from the plans of the original Stanley 95 planers which Lie Nielson acquired.  Along with their tools they also make amazing wood working tables which are closer to pieces of fine furniture then workbenches.

All images come from the Lie Nielsen website except for the last which is from someone else’s visit to the Lie Nielsen headquarters where you can try out all their tools and workbenches.

Churn Your Own
February 17, 2011, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Craft, Eats | Tags: , ,

To churn your own butter you need a 4-5 gallon stoneware jar with a wooden lid and a dasher. Fill it half way, or slightly over half, full with rich milk which should mostly be cream. And then get to churning the cream with that dasher you made from an old broom stick.

To pass the time you can try chanting this traditional chant said in time to the up and down movements of that dasher. When the butter gathers adequately, remove, rinse,  and and some salt. Let it chill in the icebox before spreading on some toast. * As seen and described in The Foxfire Book by Eliot Wigginton.

The Craftsman in America
January 4, 2011, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Craft | Tags: , , , ,

I am not even going to try to define or fully explore what it means to be a craftsman, or craftswoman for that matter, in America and especially not in one singular post. However I found this book, The Craftsman in America published by the National Geographic Society, which does a pretty good job a capturing a sense of what it means to be an “craftsman.”

Along with the images of the people themselves who craft these handmade objects the book also depicts the great variety of crafts made by Americans at the time, and with hope today.

Enjoy the rest of the set here.



Heritage Harvest
September 13, 2010, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Craft | Tags: , ,

This past weekend we hit up the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. The annual event is held in the spirit of seed saving and seed exchanging events that farmers would organize at the end of a season in order to exchange the seeds of heirloom varieties of vegetables and plants.The festival

The event featured alot of handmade goods as well as speakers and workshops. Good barbecue as well.All while getting to spend some time on Thomas Jefferson’s exceptional abode.

Seeds for the Fall garden.

Earth Basketry
July 21, 2010, 7:33 pm
Filed under: Craft | Tags: ,

We like baskets, not sure we are about to start making them, but if we did this book would be our guide. Found recently at a yard sale, Earth Basketry has some amazing baskets and instructions illustrated by the author.

All the baskets utilize fibers or materials found from wild plants.

More images here.


The Dulcimer, sometimes pronounced “dulcymore” , has many incarnations but around here we mainly enjoy the sounds of the Appalachian variety. The instrument itself has as many variety’s as it does names. Each instrument tends to be specific to the crafts person who made it and where that person lives.

One of those craftspersons is Robert Mize from Blountville Tennessee who was a member of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild. His approach to the instrument and its construction is unique. I recently came across his story in the issue  of FireFox 3, which is where all images are from. The rest of the set can be seen here.

Enjoy this version of the classic bluegrass tune “Wildwood Flower”, the official theme song of The Wildwood.